Except Alaskans like to do things a bit differently. Instead of running with somewhat irritable animals, Alaskans are letting loose a dozen reindeer (which are a bit tamer). And unlike the bulls, who have piercing horns that pose a threat to human runners, reindeer antlers are soft and curl inward, so really can do little harm to humans.
The inaugural Running of the Reindeer will take place during the annual Fur Rendezvous (or "Fur Rondy") winter festival. The animals will run along Fourth Avenue, which is fenced.
But Tom Williams, whose reindeer have been selected to run in the event, is still a bit concerned. According to the Anchorage Daily News, his biggest fear is that the reindeer will just be docile, and disinterested in racing at all. Williams told the News:
"I'll probably be trying to solve the biggest problem of all - lack of fear and motivation, and a love for the people," he said.
"I'm afraid the deer are just gonna stand there. It may be a very slow walk, with the animals sticking their noses in people's pockets, looking for something to eat," Williams said.
... In fact, he thinks event organizers should handicap the humans so they are more vulnerable, and less likely to provoke the animals.
"I think we should make them wear fur bikinis and fur Speedos to even things out," Williams said.
Fur Rendezvous staff are capping participants at 12 reindeer, 500 men, and 500 women. As of January 3, 40 people had signed up to run in the event. No word yet on whether they're stocking up on furry swimwear.
The Running of the Reindeer will take place on February 24. Participation costs $20 per person, and proceeds will benefit Toys for Tots, the charity chosen by Bob and Mark, two radio hosts who came up with the event.
Photo: JohntheFinn via Flickr